As the city was filled to the brim with rainbows and glitter, something in particular stuck out for SF State. Students, faculty and alumni showed their Gator pride as they marched on Market Street during the 44th annual San Francisco Pride Parade June 29.
This year’s festivities marked the third year that SF State has participated in San Francisco’s Pride Parade but this was the first year that the University incorporated a float in the parade.
The float, featuring signs that read “pride” and a purple and gold balloon arch, swerved through the downtown streets and was followed by the group of participants donned in purple shirts. The parade started on Market and Beale and proceed west on Market, weaving the way to Eighth Street.The float was built according to this year’s theme: Color Our World With Pride.
Incoming freshman Janetha Dorham, who attended pride for the first time last weekend, is one of the students who marched with SF State during the parade.
“I think it’s amazing that San Francisco has it’s own Pride Parade,” Dorham said. Dorham first found out about SF State’s participation in the parade after attending the school’s orientation.
Alums were also invited to partake in the Pride celebration. SF State’s Alumni Association sent an email encouraging alums to march alongside their fellow gators. Cheri Greven was one of the alums that participated with the SF State group in the parade.
“It’s my first alumni association event and what better way to hang out with my fellow alums than to go to SF Pride,” said Greven, who graduated from SF State in 2004 after studying political communications. “There’s a lot of work to do but there’s also a lot to celebrate this year.”
Pam Su is the director of campus recreation at SF State and was in charge of planning SF State’s float for the parade. Former Dean of Students Joseph Greenwell gave Su, who was given the task early last semester by former Dean of Students Joseph Greenwell, said that the planning process has given her ideas for developing SF State’s presence in the parade.
“We really pride ourselves in our social justice and diversity,” Su said. “It’s important to not just have that on our website but show that through our actions. We wanted (the float) to be really recognizable as SF State.”
Many organizations on campus helped Su with the planning of the parade, including Student Life, the Alumni Association and Government and Community Relations. Overall, Su concludes that the process has been a great team effort.
President Wong also marched with SF State during the Pride Parade for the second year in a row. “We have a duty to all our LGBT students and our LGBT community,” Wong said during the parade.
SF State’s participation at the San Francisco Pride Parade has grown since it first became involved with the celebration in 2012. According to Su, the first appearance in the parade was made up of a small group of people.
SF State was able to draw more participants during the 2013 Pride Parade, which included President Leslie Wong. According to Wong, participating in events like San Francisco’s Pride Parade has helped the school reconnect with the city and its students.
“In order to have our staff be connected with students, they need to be connected to the things that are important to them,” Wong said.